Ben Seigel (@versastudiollc) is a web designer and developer, and head of Versa Studio. In addition to managing projects and writing the necessary code for client sites, Ben has examined and written about the underlaying value of design, how small businesses and design agencies can work together toward successful ends.

In this conversation, we dig into content management systems on websites, discuss managing remote teams, remark on transitioning from a pure developer to a business owner, and share some common ailments of working with small businesses on their brand and web design projects.

Grab Ben’s eBook, Website Planning for Small Business, and catch up with him via the website for Versa Studio.

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Show Notes & Links

“If someone wants to spend $20k on a project, but won't take 2 hours to read a plan ... they're not going to be a good client.”

—Ben Seigel

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“You need a 'minimum viable brand' before any website.”

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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  • Prescott wants the “power of suggestion” as his business superpower. Ben prefers a version of ESP.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP)

“(an RFP) is a really great way to waste a whole bunch of peoples' time.”

—Ben Seigel

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  • Brennan Dunn, Roadmapping
  • A “Warm RFP” has a higher chance to succeed

“You can read four proposals. You probably can't read 19.”

—Prescott Perez-Fox

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“We're not built to sit all day. We're also not built to stand. We gotta move.”

—Ben Seigel

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Tools

Techniques

  • If given the opportunity, build a new platform fresh without links to the past ten years of legacy code
  • Connect with people in person rather than social
  • Break a project into steps/phases, so you can learn about the client as you go
  • Build a “Helvetica-Vanilla” version of your website while you test-and-iterate on brand, content, visual styles
  • Counter an RFP with an honest, candid phone call or conversation
  • Ask about the competition for proposals/pitches/tenders
  • Review a project through a post-mortem
  • Auto-answer common email questions
  • Pomodoro Method

Habits

  • Create a “framework” for your projects; share it with clients and industry
  • Start projects with an “assembly line” for beginning a project
  • Call Templates “Starting Documents”
  • Be flexible on your standards and workflow
  • Save code snippets and text macros as you work on projects; you’ll likely need to use them again.
  • Always move during the day
  • Work toward your daily practices

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About the author: Prescott Perez-Fox

Prescott Perez-Fox is a New York-based graphic designer and brand developer with 17+ years experience in branding, packaging, graphic design, and web design. He runs The Busy Creator.

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